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Low-noise rotorcraft flight paths

An EU-funded project developed new instrument flight rule (IFR) procedures for rotorcraft using satellite-based augmentation systems (GNSS-SBAS). The procedures hold great potential to enable rotorcraft users to gain further access to airports, whilst increasing the safety levels of flight operations.

Industrial Technologies

The significant increase in rotorcraft traffic expected in the near future will require successful integration of rotorcraft with other airport traffic with minimised environmental impact. GNSS that provide autonomous geospatial positioning with global coverage are key enabling technologies to meet such requirements. The EU-funded project GARDEN (GNSS-based ATM for rotorcraft to decrease emissions and noise) was initiated to define new flight profiles for rotorcraft air traffic management (ATM) to meet the objectives of Clean Sky, EU's ambitious aeronautical research programme. Project members developed new procedures to help rotorcraft access busy airports independently of other aircraft using low-noise flight paths. Steep trajectories are key enablers for the implementation of simultaneous non-interfering (SNI) aircraft-rotorcraft operations. SNI operations and noise minimisation were the main drivers for defining these procedures. Thus, the team also defined new rotorcraft IFR for high-noise activities of departure, approach and low-elevation flying that is particularly disturbing to local residents. GNSS-SBAS guidance enhances precision and performance of rotorcraft navigation. In particular, steep procedures enable rotorcraft to operate under IFR in challenging environments such as mountainous areas and to safely fly steep approaches to airports or helipads that are difficult to access or are located in densely populated areas. This is particularly important for many applications ranging from medical air transport to operations in the vicinity of airports that require no interaction with fixed-wing aircraft traffic. Minimising noise emissions is an important pillar of the EU's Clean Sky project to reduce the environmental impact of air traffic. GARDEN made an important contribution to that effort with autonomous flight procedures for low-noise flight paths during take-off, landing and low-elevation rotorcraft flight.


Rotorcraft, instrument flight rule, GARDEN, air traffic management, low-noise flight paths

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